Sunday, December 13, 2015

An Unexpected Result

Fall Reflections
12" X 6"
Acrylic on Canvas

I returned riverside to capture the Red Cliffs in the lowering sun. In my last painting session there, the afternoon light and shadows caught my eye and I made a mental note to return to the same spot. I was eager to put paint to canvas when I arrived.

Though the river at my back flowed effortlessly, things weren’t moving as well with the painting. I struggled with the angle I’d chosen, fighting to find the right shapes and values. The afternoon grew surprisingly hot and I could genuinely use the excuse “the sun was in my eyes”, because as I struggled with light, shadows, and glare—on and off the canvas—the sun marched over my left shoulder and into my eyes. 

Finally, I moved into the shade, next to the river where I got a clear look at the mess I’d made and began pondering my next step. Something wasn’t quite right. Later, when I showed the painting to Clint, he pointed out the resemblance of the rock folds to a female body part. Since then, that’s all I see when I look at it. Consequently, the painting has been relegated to the “do-over” pile.

I was nearly out of day as I daydreamed to the gurgle of the river and gathered up my brushes. I looked out over the river, struck by the foliage along the far shore glowing gold, orange, and lemon yellow in the last light of the sun. The brilliant reflections in the water flamed against the encroaching mossy-black shadows of the coming evening.

I knew I didn’t have much time—I grabbed another canvas, quickly squirted out a few more colors onto my palette, and got to work. I painted until the sun dipped behind the ridge. The vivid colors gave way to soft edges and muted tones as the sky cooled to twilight.

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